Hemp farmer contends harassment at justice center

Sergeant discussed issue with deputies, considers matter closed

 

A Bowling Green hemp advocate and business owner claims he was ordered to leave a baseball cap with a hemp leaf logo on it with court security personnel as he entered the Warren County Justice Center on Thursday.

Chad Wilson, who owns Modern Farm Concepts and is vice president of sales and marketing for hemp products company Green Remedy, said he accompanied his son to the justice center to get his driver’s license.

After passing through the metal detectors in the front lobby of the justice center, Wilson, who was wearing a T-shirt and hat promoting Green Remedy, said a deputy told Wilson he would have to leave the hemp-logo hat with court security or else he would have to leave.

Hemp and marijuana are both part of the cannabis plant genus, but hemp is genetically different and generally has negligible amounts of THC, the active chemical in marijuana.

Kentucky and several other states have legalized the cultivation and research of industrial hemp, which can be used in the making of paper, fabrics, cosmetics and several other products. Hemp growers, however, must get permission from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to raise the crop.

Green Remedy is one of 167 registered participants in this year’s Kentucky Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program.

Wilson attempted to explain what was on his hat and that he was a licensed grower, but court security officers said that Wilson’s hat promoted marijuana, Wilson said Friday.

“I was told basically that I had no right to come into a government building that my taxes paid for,” Wilson said. “I didn’t want to make a scene because I was trying to be a good dad, but I should have stood for my rights.”

Wilson said he gave the hat to court security officers, who stored it in a lock box until he left the justice center. As he left, Wilson recorded a video of himself in which he gave an account of the incident and posted it to his Facebook page.

Later on Thursday, Wilson said he went to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office to complain about how he was treated and that Chief Deputy Maj. Tommy Smith apologized.

The court security officers are a division of the sheriff’s office.

Sgt. Andy McDowell said he was apprised of the situation after Wilson went to the sheriff’s office and he met with the court security officers on duty to discuss the incident.

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